First, this week is a short week due to Thanksgiving. Our offices will be closed Thursday and Friday.
The Week on Wall Street
Despite news of another COVID-19 vaccine candidate, stocks were mixed amid investor anxiety over an increase in new infections and economic lockdowns. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.73%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 declined 0.77%. The Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.22% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, gained 1.42%.
The announcement of another potential COVID-19 vaccine ignited strong gains to begin the week. But, like the week that preceded it, the gains sparked by the vaccine news were eroded in the following days as worries over the economic impact of new infections moved to the fore.
The market has been grappling with conflicting narratives. One is the optimistic view that, with COVID-19 vaccines apparently near at-hand, the return to economic normalcy grows ever closer. That hopeful outlook has been offset by anxiety over new infections, rising hospitalizations, and some local and state lockdowns.
These crosscurrents kept stocks range bound for the week, with the technology sector and small and mid-size stocks lending support to the overall market.
Powell Sounds a Warning
In a speech last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned that the nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases could hamper economic activity in the upcoming months. He expressed concern that consumer spending may trend lower despite efforts to control the spread of infections. Powell once again voiced his support for additional fiscal stimulus to assist small businesses, state and local governments, and the unemployed. He also said that even after full economic recovery, some businesses and workers may wrestle with an economic landscape altered by the coronavirus.
THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Tuesday: Consumer Confidence.
Wednesday: Durable Goods Orders, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Jobless Claims, Consumer Sentiment, New Home Sales.
Thursday: Jobless Claims.
THIS WEEK: NOTABLE COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Tuesday: Best Buy (BBY), Medtronic (MDT), Dollar Tree (DLTR), Dell Technologies (DELL), VMware (VMW), Analog Devices (ADI)
Friday: Deere & Company (DE)
This week is a shortened week due to Thanksgiving. Trading is not likely to be very robust. As such, I wouldn’t look for large moves in the market absent some really, really dramatic news event.
This year has been an odd one to say the very least. 2020 will go down in the record books for numerous reasons. COVID-19 will most likely top the list but add to that the most polarized election of our time, including a President that won’t admit defeat. One would expect this in a banana republic, but not in the United States of America. It doesn’t matter one’s political affiliation, dragging the country through a contested election that by this point to all but one person is over, is shameful. The country’s time and resources should be used for productive purposes, not revenge or to cushion one’s ego. However, I digress.
Regardless of the past year most of us have had, there is still much to be thankful for. In spite of our government leaders, this is still the best country to live in on this planet. Most of us will go to bed in a soft, warm bed tonight under a sound shelter with electric and running water. We have all the food we care to eat, and we have friends and family to share it with. In addition, for those that have good health, you are wealthy beyond measure. Yes, it has been a challenging year, but as Americans we meet challenges and press on. It’s what we do. This time will be no different. I am thankful for every set of eyes that reads these words. You are the reason we exist and have entrusted us with your future. We will never take that responsibility lightly. So, thank you for your trust and confidence as we look forward to the year ahead where no doubt, we will all meet and overcome the challenges we face.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!